The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 7, 2013

Senator's filibuster on CIA nominee divides GOP

(Continued)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., made references to rappers Jay-Z and Wiz Khalifa. Rubio, a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2016, chided the White House for failing to respond to Paul. "It's not a Republican question. It's not a conservative question," Rubio said. "It's a constitutional question."

The tea party-backed Paul first stepped onto the national stage in 2010 when he vanquished McConnell's chosen Senate candidate in a GOP primary in Kentucky. Since then, he's reveled in the popularity he has with the tea party and inherited his father's libertarian-leaning political network, built over two failed Ron Paul presidential runs. All that has stoked belief inside GOP circles that he may be positioning himself for a future national campaign, possibly as early as 2016.

Along with Cruz, Rubio and McConnell, other Republicans who joined Paul on the floor included Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Jerry Moran of Kansas, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Tim Scott of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., also made an appearance. Wyden has long pressed for greater oversight of the use of drones.

Holder came close to making the statement Paul wanted earlier Wednesday during an exchange with Cruz at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, according to Paul.

Cruz asked Holder if the Constitution allowed the federal government to kill on U.S. soil a U.S. citizen who doesn't pose an imminent threat. Holder said the situation was hypothetical, but he did not think that in that situation the use of a drone or lethal force would be appropriate. Cruz criticized Holder for not simply saying "no" in response.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Paul, Brennan said the CIA does not have authority to conduct lethal operations inside the U.S.

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